The Best Time to Visit Cozumel: Advice for All Travelers

By Michele Samal Kinnon

If you are planning a trip to the Mexican Caribbean and Cozumel is on your short list of destinations, you may be wondering when is the best time to visit Cozumel? 

There are some important factors that you will want to consider before setting your travel plans in motion. Certain popular activities can only be experienced during certain months of the year. Bad weather and rough water conditions can wreak havoc on your Cozumel vacation plans. If you have your heart set on certain events and activities, it is essential to know the best time to be here!

Now, the good news is, there is practically no BAD time to visit Cozumel. Living here on the Riviera Maya, just across the channel from the island, we are blessed with nearly perfect weather year-round. We spend time on Cozumel during all travel seasons and can tell you the very best times to visit the island depending on what you like to do and see!

The cozumel ferry terminal taken from our ferry on the way into cozumel.

Weather in Cozumel at a Glance

Let’s start with a very brief overview of the weather by season in Cozumel.

Rainy Season on Cozumel

September and October typically see the most rainfall on Cozumel, marking the peak of the wet season with frequent and sometimes heavy rains. June can also be quite a rainy month.

Driest Months on Cozumel

April and May are generally the driest months on Cozumel, experiencing the least amount of rainfall as the island transitions from the cooler dry season into the warmer wet season.

Hurricane Season in Cozumel

The hurricane season in Cozumel runs from June to November, with the highest risk of hurricanes usually occurring from August to October.

A satellite view of a hurricane approaching the yucatan peninsular.

Warmest Months on Cozumel

The warmest months in Cozumel are typically June, July, and August when temperatures reach their peak and humidity is highest.

Coldest Months on Cozumel

The coldest months are December, January, and February, during which the island experiences its mildest temperatures, offering a cooler climate compared to the rest of the year.

High Season on Cozumel

Statistically, the High Season on Cozumel is from December to March, coinciding with the winter months in the northern hemisphere. This season sees the most comfortable temperatures with warm, dry sunny days and cool nights. This is by far the most popular time to visit the island.

Coconuts at beach bar in cozumel

The winter months on Cozumel have the best weather, little rain and comfortable sea temperatures. Although the air and water temperatures here in the Mexican Caribbean vary little from season to season, most people consider this to be the best time of year to visit Cozumel.

Some of the most popular travel times fall during High Season, the holiday break surrounding Christmas and New Year’s and Spring Break which takes place in March. With children out of school for these extended breaks, families flock to the Mexican Caribbean, escaping colder climates. Cozumel is a popular destination for families looking to escape the cold and enjoy sun-soaked days on the beach.

December starts the beginning of the dry season on Cozumel which will run through until June. Dry does not mean “no rain” and there will certainly be days when it rains for an hour or so. The daytime temperatures are lovely with daytime highs around 83°F (28°C) and the evenings are cool and lovely for sleeping. The weather during the winter months in Cozumel can vary wildly from hot and still to cold and blustery. Of course, everyone’s idea of “cold” is relative but for those of us who live here year-round, waking up to 16°C (61°F) temperatures in the morning is COLD.

Melia resort in cozumel, surrounded by greenery.

The dry season on Cozumel provides optimal conditions for SCUBA diving and snorkeling. The clear and calm waters enhance visibility for exploring the vibrant coral reefs and marine life, making it a prime time for underwater enthusiasts. SCUBA enthusiasts looking to dive with the Bull Sharks should plan their trip in high season as December through March are the prime months for spotting them in the waters surrounding Cozumel. 

Beach activities are also at their best, with sunny days perfect for water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. The more moderate weather is perfect for exploring Cozumel’s natural parks, the ancient Mayan ruins at San Gervacio, and the streets of downtown San Miguel without the discomfort of excessive heat and humidity or the interruption of rain showers.

San miguel de cozumel

Cozumel’s festivities for Carnaval are some of the best in the country and a bucket-list item for many travelers. The Cozumel Carnival is a week-long party with parades, dances, and cultural events celebrating the island’s rich heritage. A vibrant explosion of color and music, the Cozumel Carnaval takes place every year in February, smack in the middle of High Season. It’s a good idea to make your reservations for accommodations and dining well in advance.

Visiting Cozumel During High Season 


  • Ideal weather with the lowest rainfall and warm temperatures. Cool nighttime temperatures make it good for sleeping.
  • Vibrant atmosphere with numerous events and activities including Caraval.
  • Optimal conditions for snorkeling and diving in clear waters. 
Jim snorkeling with reef fish at cozumel


  • High season sees the highest prices for accommodations, flights, and activities due to increased demand.
  • Beaches clubs and popular restaurants may be crowded and harder to access.
  • Some popular sites and excursions may be overcrowded, diminishing the experience.
  • There is a greater chance for high winds and rough seas, potentially interfering with water-based activities.

Low Season in Cozumel

Cozumel sees the fewest number of visitors from June through November. But don’t think that you will have the island to yourself! The cruise ships arrive year-round with thousands of passengers all eager to experience Cozumel’s glorious beaches and colorful reefs and fun outdoor activities.

The huge allure of the seas cruise ship docked in cozumel.

Visitors to Cozumel in Low Season can expect high temperatures, especially in the late summer months. The high temperatures paired with high humidity can be oppressive for some people. On the plus side, the water temperature in the Mexican Caribbean Sea is pleasantly cool making these some of the best months for SCUBA diving and snorkeling activities.

One of the best reasons to travel to Cozumel in the off-season is to swim with the whale sharks. These magnificent creatures migrate through this area every year between June and September. This is the only time tours are offered to snorkel with the largest fish in the sea and it’s an opportunity not to be missed. The chance to see and swim with whale sharks is better in July and August but you will want to ask your tour provider of choice what the current conditions are before you book your trip.

A whale shark reaching the surface of the ocean, surrounded by smaller fish.

Low Season aligns with the rainy season and those looking for favorable rates will find Cozumel is more affordable during this season. Low season means low prices for hotels, flights and activities making travel this time of year the best budget-friendly option. If you are traveling on a tight budget this is the best time of the year to come.

The summer months are also when we expect the plague of sargassum to reach the shores of Cancun and all down the Riviera Maya coastline. Quintana Roo residents and savvy visitors jump on the ferries in Playa del Carmen and flock to the beaches on the west side of Cozumel as they are generally free of this seaweed menace.

The shoreline covered in sargassum at playa del carmen during a bad period.

October is probably one of the wettest months on Cozumel but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to visit. You can expect more rainy days than not but the storms tend to be in the afternoon and only last for a few hours.

Visiting Cozumel During Low Season


  • Lower prices for hotels, flights, and activities, making it more budget-friendly.
  • Fewer tourists, offering a more relaxed and experience with fewer people at beach clubs, restaurants and popular excursions.
  • The unique opportunity to swim with whale sharks, especially from June to September.
  • Nesting season for sea turtles is May through September for those hoping to swim with marine turtles or participate in conservation activities.
Baby sea turtles hatching from a nest.


  • The likelihood of rain and the potential for hurricanes is higher, particularly from August to October.
  • Some businesses may have reduced hours or be closed, especially smaller tour operators.
  • These are some of the hottest months on the island with high humidity, which can be uncomfortable for some visitors.

Shoulder Season in Cozumel

Shoulder season in Cozumel falls from mid to late April and the month of May, and then again from November through early December.

The start of the shoulder season is April is variable depending on the Semana Santa break. Semana Santa is the single biggest travel holiday for Mexican nationals. Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly families, will flock to the popular beach destinations in Mexico to enjoy a break from school and work. The exact timing of the holiday depends on the date of Easter each year but generally, we expect the crowds to clear out by mid-April. 

A shop and bar on the north end of the east side of cozumel island

Mid-April through May is considered a real sweet spot for travel to Cozumel. The crowds are gone. You can expect pleasant weather with little rain. The temperatures are moderate and the humidity is still manageable. This is a great time to plan a getaway vacation to Cozumel as the beaches will be less crowded.

Budget-minded travelers will be happy to find that the rates for flights and accommodations will dip before the summer vacation for schools begins in June. For snorkelers and SCUBA divers, this is a good time to come as the water temperatures are near perfect and the visibility will be terrific.

Scuba tanks on dive boat

Traveling to Cozumel in November and early December can be particularly rewarding. If you can manage to get here at the very beginning of November, your trip will coincide with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities which are celebrated on November 1 and 2.

While you will not find the massive celebrations we’ve experienced in Mexico City, Oaxaca or Michoacan, Dia de los Muertos on Cozumel is a pious and family-focused experience that is probably as authentic as you are likely to find. If done with the proper respect and reverence, a visit to a local cemetery on the island will be an eye-opening and unforgettable experience. 

Two women dressed for dia de los muertos

The late fall and early winter on Cozumel is the perfect time for divers who want to experience diving with the Bull Sharks that make a run through these waters from November through March. If you are considering a trip to Cozumel during shoulder season, you will likely find good prices on flights and accommodations until the holiday vacation time starts, mid-December. From then, prices will soar and remain high until mid to late April.

Visiting Cozumel During Shoulder Season 


  • Pleasant temperatures, with less rain than the low season but still warmer than the high season.
  • Fewer people means it will be less crowded than high season, offering a more relaxed atmosphere while still enjoying most activities.
  • Prices for accommodations and activities are generally lower.
Pink loungers under palapas on the beach at punta morena.


  • Weather can be unpredictable, with occasional rain showers.
  • Some seasonal activities may not be available, especially those dependent on specific weather conditions.
  • While less crowded than high season, popular sites may still experience some crowding, especially around holidays

When Do the Most Cruise Ships Come to Cozumel?

The island welcomes cruise ships and their passengers year-round but Cozumel sees the most traffic from cruise ship guests during the high season months, from December to March. This period aligns with the peak tourist season on the island, driven by the favorable weather conditions and the desire of travelers to escape colder climates. 

A huge cruise ship docked in cozumel.

The weeks around Christmas, New Year, and Spring Break are particularly busy, as these are the most popular times for vacationers to take cruises. Fortunately, the island’s port facilities and tourist attractions are well-prepared for the influx, offering a range of activities and excursions tailored to specifically cruise passengers and their unique time restraints.

If you are planning a trip to Cozumel, you may or may not want to avoid the cruise ship crowds. You will hear people say that the best time to visit Cozumel is on a Sunday when there are no cruise ships in port. While you will certainly avoid the crowds, many of the businesses on Cozumel are closed on Sunday, especially the smaller, family-run businesses. This is something to keep in mind when deciding when to visit.

Best Time to Visit Cozumel for Snorkeling

The best time to visit Cozumel for snorkeling is during the island’s dry season, which spans from late November through April. This period aligns with Cozumel’s high season due to its favorable weather conditions. Lower rainfall and clear skies mean better visibility underwater—a crucial factor for an excellent snorkeling experience. During these months, the sea is typically calmer, making it safer and more enjoyable to explore Cozumel’s renowned coral reefs and vibrant marine life.

Rays swimming in the shallow ocean at el cielo

Water temperatures during this time are comfortably warm, ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (around 24°C to 28°C), allowing snorkelers to stay in the water for extended periods without getting too cold. This season also avoids the sargassum seaweed influx that can affect visibility and access to some beaches, primarily occurring from May through September.

While the high season does mean more tourists and potentially crowded snorkeling spots, the abundance of marine life and the excellent conditions generally outweigh these drawbacks. If you want to avoid the crowds while still enjoying good snorkeling conditions, the shoulder months of late November and early April are ideal. 

Jim snorkeling with fish just off the coast of cozumel.

Best Time to Dive in Cozumel

While diving is possible year-round in Cozumel due to its warm waters, the visibility and overall experience during the dry season (December through March) is the preferred time for many divers. There are not too many days of rain. The water temperatures are cooler but still pleasant. This time of year also coincides with Bull Shark season which is a big draw for many SCUBA divers.

Dive with bull sharks

Planning your dive trip to Cozumel during the winter months also avoids the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November. While the chances of a hurricane hitting the island are statistically rare, it is a risk to consider when planning your visit.

The dry season is also the busiest travel season on Cozumel. This means you can expect to be sharing the reefs with a lot of other underwater enthusiasts. While dive sites might be busier during peak tourist season, the marine life is abundant, and the conditions are ideal for exploring the famous Mesoamerican Reef. Dive conditions on the shallow reefs surrounding the island are excellent at any time of year. You will just need to book your dives in advance with the dive shop of your choice. Don’t wait until you arrive on the island or your options may be limited.

A scuba diver looking at a starfish.

I am not a diver but I have lots of friends who are. Many report that their favorite time for SCUBA diving in Cozumel is during the summer months of June, July and August. This period offers the clearest water conditions, with visibility often exceeding 100 feet (30 meters). The Caribbean waters are calm and warm, with temperatures ranging between 78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C), providing comfortable diving conditions with or without a wetsuit.

For divers looking to avoid the crowds while also avoiding the heat and humidity of the summer months, early December (before the Christmas holidays) or late April (after the Semana Santa break) can be a great time, as they are at the edges of the high season.

Read about our favorite Dive Resorts

Best Season for Fishing in Cozumel

The best season for fishing in Cozumel is from March to July. This is the ideal time for anglers looking to catch a variety of species, especially because the water temperatures are optimal for attracting fish closer to the surface and shore. During these months, fishermen have the opportunity to catch sailfish, marlin (both blue and white), wahoo, dorado (also known as mahi-mahi or dolphin fish), and tuna.

A marlin being brought onto a fishing boat off cozumel.

March to July aligns with the peak season for billfish, making Cozumel a popular destination for sportfishing enthusiasts seeking the thrill of catching these prized species. The island’s location offers access to deep waters relatively close to shore, providing excellent conditions for both deep-sea and sportfishing adventures. While fishing is a year-round activity in Cozumel, the combination of favorable weather, optimal water temperatures, and the abundance of sought-after fish species makes this period particularly rewarding.

You can find fishing charters here

Cozumel Festivals and Special Events

Carnaval (February)

The Cozumel Carnaval is a week-long spectacle of exuberance and tradition, making it one of the most anticipated events on this small island. Revelers can expect a kaleidoscope of colorful costumes and non-stop music, embodying the island’s cultural richness and festive spirit.

The carnival floats heading down a street in cozumel.

The streets come alive with vibrant parades featuring elaborately decorated floats and dancers moving to rhythmic beats. This celebration before Lent is an unforgettable display of local customs, with activities including traditional dances, musical performances, and contests that welcome both locals and tourists to partake in the joyous festivities.

El Cedral Festival (Late April – Early May)

El Cedral Festival is one of Cozumel’s oldest traditions, dating back over 150 years. This cultural and religious festival is held in the small town of El Cedral, located in the southern part of the island. The event commemorates the Feast of the Holy Cross and includes a mix of Mayan and Christian traditions. Visitors can expect rodeos, bullfights, traditional dances, and music performances, alongside handcraft markets and local food stands. 

Many people dancing in a huge palapa for feria el cedral cozumel

Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas Fishing Tournament (May)

The Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas fishing tournament has been hosted on Cozumel for over FIFTY years. The tournament invites anglers from all over the Caribbean and the southern Atlantic to compete in this prestigious event. Also in May, the Cozumel International Billfish Release Tournament is a relatively new event on the island but one that seems to have picked up momentum quickly. If you are a serious fisherman, you may want to plan your trip to Cozumel in May.

A huge marlin at a fishing tournament weigh in

Travesia Sagrada Maya (Late May)

The Travasia Sagrada Maya (Sacred Mayan Passage) also takes place at the end of May. At sunrise, 350+ brave “canoeros” will paddle 26-foot dugout canoes, from Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, to the island of Cozumel, returning to the mainland the following day. This emotional two-day event reenacts the ancient Mayan pilgrimages undertaken by the original Yucatan inhabitants.

Pilgrims traditionally engaged in this dangerous crossing to honor the Goddess Ixchel. I have attended this event as a spectator several times and was honored to participate as a canoera in the 2018 Travesia. If you are planning a trip to Cozumel in the late spring, try to make your dates coincide with the arrival of the pilgrims into Parque Chankannab. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

Turtle Nesting Season (May – September)

The turtle nesting season in Cozumel is an exciting annual occurrence that attracts nature lovers and conservationists. From May through September, female sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the beaches at night. Several local organizations and hotels organize guided tours to observe this natural marvel, providing education on the importance of protecting these endangered species. Participating in a night-time turtle-watching tour offers a unique opportunity to witness one of nature’s most enchanting cycles.

A sea turtle swimming over a reef.

Whale Shark Season (June to September)

Whale Shark Season is a highlight for wildlife enthusiasts visiting the Yucatan Peninsula, including areas close to Cozumel. Between June and September, the largest fish in the sea congregates in the nutrient-rich waters near the island of Holbox and the northeastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula to feed on plankton. While the main gatherings occur slightly north of Cozumel, many tours operate from the island, offering day trips to swim and snorkel with these gentle giants. This is one of our family’s favorite excursions and something we are looking forward to again this summer.

A huge whale shark just below the surface of the ocean.

Independence Day (September 16)

Independence Day in Cozumel is a heartfelt expression of national pride and joy. The entire island pulsates with the sounds of fireworks and festive music, creating an atmosphere of celebration. Central to the event is the ceremonious “Grito de Dolores” reenactments and communal gatherings, where locals and visitors alike indulge in an array of traditional Mexican foods. The air is filled with the scents of delicious dishes and the sounds of mariachi bands, making it an ideal opportunity to experience Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. 

Fiesta de San Miguel (Late September)

This event commemorates the patron saint of Cozumel, Michael the Archangel. The celebration begins on September 21, featuring colorful processions that start from the church of San Miguel and go throughout downtown. On the last day, fishermen carry an image of San Miguel Arcángel to the downtown pier and board a boat. The public accompanies the fisherman to the pier and board a ferry, surrounded by fishing boats, to join the procession by sea, throwing flowers into the ocean as they sail along.

Festival san miguel arcangel cozumel

Day of the Dead (November 1-2)

In Cozumel, the Day of the Dead offers a more intimate and reflective observance compared to the grandiose celebrations found on the mainland. This time of remembrance and honor is marked by the creation of altars and the laying of offerings for departed loved ones. Though quieter, the local customs and practices provide a poignant insight into the deep respect and affection for ancestry and tradition. You also have the option to ferry over to Playa del Carmen to attend the annual Festival de Vida y Muerte at Xcaret. I have been to this remarkable event 7 times in the past 20 years and every year it gets better and better.

Dia de los muertos in xcaret park

Ironman Cozumel (November)

Ironman Cozumel is a highlight for the athletic and the spirited, positioning the island as a nexus for international sporting events. This grueling triathlon challenges participants with a course that includes swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean sea, cycling around the island’s scenic perimeter, and running through its lush landscapes. Athletes from around the globe converge on Cozumel to test their limits, while spectators cheer them on, creating a dynamic atmosphere of camaraderie and competition. Several of my sporty friends have competed in this event and we went along to cheer them on. It’s a fun time to be on the island, even if you are not competing.

Ironman cozumel

Bull Shark Season (November to March)

Bull Shark Season in Cozumel is a thrilling time for divers seeking close encounters with one of the ocean’s most formidable predators. From November to March, bull sharks migrate to the warmer waters around the island, particularly off the coast near Playa del Carmen, making it an ideal period for diving adventures aimed at witnessing these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. The clear waters offer excellent visibility, allowing divers to safely observe the sharks from a respectful distance. The best way to encounter Bull Sharks is on an organized dive trip. Dive operators in the area offer specialized tours led by experienced guides to ensure the safety of both the divers and the sharks. 

Dive with bull sharks

Cozumel Scuba Fest (December)

The Cozumel Scuba Fest is an essential event for diving enthusiasts. It celebrates the island’s status as one of the world’s premier scuba diving destinations. Participants have the opportunity to explore the famous Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world, through guided dives designed for various skill levels. The event also features workshops, environmental awareness activities, and the chance to dive the “Cozumel Scuba Fest Route,” highlighting some of the most spectacular underwater landscapes and marine life in the Caribbean. ***The organizers tell me that the 2024 event is currently “on hold” in search of a sponsor.

Two divers watchin a turtle on the reef.

When is Hurricane Season in Cozumel?

Hurricane season in Cozumel runs from June to November, peaking from August to October. Travelers should be aware of the increased likelihood of tropical storms and hurricanes during this time. It’s essential to monitor weather forecasts and advisories, consider travel insurance that covers weather-related cancellations, and have a flexible itinerary. Resorts and local authorities are well-prepared for such events, but you need to be alert for hurricane warnings, and follow safety instructions and evacuation orders if issued. 

Despite the risks, this period can offer fewer crowds and lower prices, with many sunny days still prevalent. In fact, you can find some really great deals if you take the risk of traveling to Cozumel during hurricane season.

Areal view of a large hurricane approaching the yucatan from the caribbean

The last significant hurricane to hit Cozumel was Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005. At the time, we were living in Playa del Carmen in a house in Playacar. We were barricaded in our home with no electricity or running water for nearly 4 days until the “all-clear” was announced and services could be restored. The devastation of this storm was unbelievable and nothing that anyone would want to live through. 

While the occurrence of hurricanes hitting the island of Cozumel is statistically low, the risk is real and should be considered when making your travel plans. If you are planning a trip to Cozumel during hurricane season, be sure to purchase travel insurance that covers you in the event of a hurricane or bad tropical storm.

The Sargassum Situation

For those of us who’ve called the Riviera Maya home for the last couple of decades, the arrival of sargassum on our shores is a relatively new challenge. Cozumel, with its postcard-perfect beaches and vibrant underwater life, had remained largely untouched by this seaweed menace until the early 2010s. This was when the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt began to make its presence felt far beyond its native waters. 

Piles of sargassum on a beach in cozumel, with a sargassum removal boat in the background.

Since then, the entire Caribbean and the southeastern coast of the United States have been inundated with this plague of seaweed, beginning in the spring and continuing through the hot summer months. Sargassum season on Cozumel does vary from year to year we have come to expect the brown algae to begin carpeting our beaches as early as March and sticking around until the Fall.

Interestingly, the island of Cozumel is positioned in such a way that the prevailing currents and winds, which typically drive the sargassum towards the Caribbean, often bypass its western shores. Fortunately, the west side of the island is where most of the desirable hotels, resorts and beach clubs are located.

Sargassum monitoring map

But, Cozumel is not entirely immune to the sargassum phenomenon. There have been occasions when the seaweed has made its way to our shores, particularly when unusual weather patterns or shifts in ocean currents occur. 

For travelers planning a visit to Cozumel, especially during the sargassum season, being informed is key. Checking current sargassum conditions is easier than ever, thanks to online sargassum monitoring resources and local updates in Facebook groups. Websites and social media platforms provide real-time information on beach conditions, which can help you make informed decisions about where to spend your days.

You can also read our complete guide on Sargassum in Cozumel

About the author

Michele Samal Kinnon

Despite the strong reservations of family and friends, in 2004 I moved from the United States to Mexico with my young family. Since then, I have made the Riviera Maya my home. I have raised two remarkable children here. I have celebrated amazing successes, made countless mistakes, and in the process, fallen in love with this beautiful country.